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About the Author
Charles A. Stansfield Jr. lives in Pitman, New Jersey, and was professor of geography at Rowan University for 41 years. He is the author of 11 books on the paranormal.
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A good amount of local history related to the stories is given, making it more than just a collection of ghost stories,
but the massive historical inaccuracies in one story, "Wreck of the Blue Comet" about a train wreck in the pinelands leads
me to question the historical research done. In the book the wreck resulted in "the death of almost everybody on board"
as "hundreds were killed" and "the rusting remains of the train still lie along the abandoned stretch of track".
In reality 37 people were injured and nobody died, which kind of puts a damper on the possibility of ghosts hanging around the wreck site.
Still, a good ghost story is a good ghost story.
I have read several different books about the various ghost stories that take place along the New Jersey coast and inland. This one is well written and combines a bit of historical data to provide even more interest and linkages.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in historical accounts with a paranormal twist.
While the legends of Jersey's ghosts and monsters are many, I am struck by the historical significance of so many of these legends. For example, it's said that the ghost of President Garfield still walks along Ocean Ave. at Long Branch where he attempted to convalesce after being shot.
At Monmouth University, the library was formerly the stately mansion of the wealthy Guggenheim family. Each night at midnight, a white gowned woman descends the grand stairway and disappears once she reaches the bottom.
Tourists recently visiting the Monmouth Battlefield State park were treated to a park employee dressed as the legendary Molly Pitcher who brought water to American troops during the famous battle on June 28, 1778 in sweltering 96 degree heat. When the tourists complimented the park's management on the find actor playing Molly, they were politely told the park did not have an actor dressed as Molly Pitcher!
New Jersey had its own Paul Revere in the form of Nathaniel Cowperthwaite. The ghost of Cowperthwaite is said to still run along the banks of the Mullica River, going to warn American outposts about the advancing British troops.
Yet another historical figure from the Revolutionary period that haunts the area is the ghost of former General Charles Lee, once second in command to George Washington himself. Lee was court-martialed in 1778 for retreating from British troops when he was ordered to attack. His spirit refuses to rest on American soil.
And then there is Jimmy Hoffa, one of the truly great mysteries of the 20th century. The legend here is the oft-told one that he is buried beneath Giants Stadium. I don't think we will ever truly know what happened to the former Teamster boss. Just this spring, agents of the FBI dug up the area under a rural Milford, MI barn on tips Hoffa was buried there.
This book is an excellent complement to Stansfied's earlier book and the pair are a perfect team.
Reviewed by Tim Janson